How I Cope With Stress from the Holidaze (and Beyond)

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I go from Thanksgiving to Christmas with this burden on my shoulders, a baking burden. It’s as if every non-work moment is supposed to be filled with holiday cooking and if I’m not creating piles of cookies or stacks of dumplings in every spare second, well, then I’m not doing my duty as a true holiday lover. If I sit for even a few moments, those restless moments motivate me to scheme up the next baking task and get back to work fast — maybe a last minute loaf of Challah Bread laced with cinnamon and chocolate for my elderly neighbor or a stash of dairy-free Pantry Cookies for my sister’s freezer.

My mom says it’s a syndrome I have in common with my Honduran grandmother. We can’t sit for a few moments without feeling like we have NO RIGHT TO SIT WHEN THERE’S SOMETHING TO DO, like baking or cleaning or cooking or working, you get it. She didn’t speak English so I came to know her as the grandmother who couldn’t sit still because she was always engaged in some sort of project. Multiply that by a THOUSAND during the winter holidays.

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Burdens, even the baking kind, create a lot of stress. And between baking, working, gifting, and trying to also simply enjoy this special season, I need about 10 months off. You too? Yeah.

Though I will take a few days off to recuperate and enjoy the holidays, I’ve developed a bunch of ways to cope in the meantime, to simply get on with it while taking care of me and ease the burdens (baking or otherwise) I place on my shoulders this time of year. Thankfully, the folks at Rescue have partnered with me to share all the ways I stay sane during this precious but packed-to-the-gills holiday season.

Here are some of the ways I cope, in no particular order, though I am saving the very best for last (since Rescue products have been in my life for 20+ years and I’m thrilled to share my evening cocktail routine — and it’s not what you think!)

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I Breathe. I do breathing exercises morning and night, the sort where you breathe deep into your stomach and exhale with your whole body. This sort of meditative breathing eases anxiety in advance.

I Stick to a Morning Routine. I incorporate some rituals throughout the day to ground me, but my morning one is imperative! When I wake up, I do the following in this exact order: make the bed (it makes me feel like I’ve crossed a task off my list); do some stretching; dry brush and shower; feed the dog; make a pot of coffee or cashew-milky black tea with honey; and down a shot of apple cider vinegar (to keep my immune system strong).

I Zen Out by Following a Recipe. I generally cook all my meals, and at some point, I take the time to follow a recipe during the day. There’s something very mellow about letting someone else be in charge, following their instructions from A to Z, permitting them to guide you to a beautiful dish. I let go a little and enjoy my food more.

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I Snack on Good Stuff. I spend most of the holiday season trying not to put everything delicious in my mouth, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am a lady who tends to comfort with food. During the warmer weather, I can walk that impulse out of me, but during the winter, I just make sure to have good snacks around me like pickles, dates, bananas, milky tea, or, my favorite, chunks of chocolate dipped in almond butter. It’s a snack that feels filling but is okay enough for me to enjoy without guilt. Sometimes, I just take a Rescue Plus, it’s citrusy and mellows me out, too.

I Listen to Music All Day. I like to have music on in the background as I work all day. It relaxes me and makes me feel a little less alone.

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I Drink a Good Cocktail Before Bed. It can sometimes be difficult for a compulsive doer like me to ease my brain and fall asleep. I’ve now come to make a favorite cocktail before bed that calms me and ritualistically gets me ready to sleep. Instead of warm milk or a shot of something strong (though no judgement, friends), I drink a glass of still or bubble water with a few drops of Rescue Remedy, sometimes gussied up with a slice of lemon or a few cranberries. Or a lot of cranberries. It is the holidays after all. It’s as if my my restless spirit simply gives in to the mix of drops and bubble water, and my task list blurs up, at least enough for me to get to sleep. (You can see a little animation of me making the drink down below.)

I’ve been using Rescue Remedy since college, when I’d take a few drops before the anxiety of exams. The formula is the same today as it was when it was developed more than 75 years ago. I’m not sure how these flower essences calms my nerves, but they do, thank goodness. If you’d like some stress relief too, check out Rescue. You can locate a store that offers their line of products.

I hope some of these techniques help you, too. What else should I add to my line up for coping with holidaze stress or beyond? I’d love to hear about ways you cope in the comments below.

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This post was sponsored by Rescue, but all opinions remain my own.

Photos taken by Julie Ciollo.

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Comments

  • I loooove this!!! Being a therapist, reading posts like this are my JAM!! Thanks for sharing.

    Happy Holidays, beautiful!

    • Oh you’re so sweet, Shelby! Thanks so much for reading xox